As regular readers may know, I have the pleasure of organizing and moderating a series of public talks at my college called the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we are able to record, edit, and publish each talk on YouTube (now in High Definition). Yesterday, the counter at our YouTube channel passed one million views of the lectures from around the world!
Recent speakers have included Carolyn Porco, imaging team leader for the Cassini mission to Saturn; Robert Kirshner of Harvard and Alex Filippenko of Berkeley, both members of the teams that discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that the expansion of the universe is accelerating; Caleb Scharf of Columbia, explaining his book, "The Copernicus Complex," about humanity’s place in the cosmos; astronaut Ed Lu about discovering asteroids that threaten the Earth; and NASA’s Jeff Moore, from the New Horizons science team, explaining what we have discovered about Pluto this year.
Older lectures include Frank Drake explaining his current thinking about the Drake equation, Michael Brown (who discovered many of the Pluto-like dwarf planets out there) discussing "How I Killed Pluto...," Leonard Susskind on his battle with Stephen Hawking over black holes, and Helen Quinn on the mysteries of antimatter.
You can enjoy all the videos, free of charge or advertising, at:http://www.youtube.com/svastronomylectures
Even an astronomer like me, used to big numbers, is kind of impressed by a million views! I'm glad there are so many fans of astronomy out there. Or maybe, when people think about what's happening in the country and in the world right now, their thought have to escape into the larger universe to stay sane!